Hi friends! If you are still trucking along on a January Whole30, chances are you are probably feeling amazing but potentially a little tired of trying to find meal inspiration. My friend and past colleague Andie is a killer cook and Whole30 pro (Andie and I drank… a lot of wine together during our tenure at VV… so I am in total awe that she’s done two of these flawlessly haha) so I asked her if she’d shake things up for us and share a few of her top tips and meal hacks for an uber-tasty Whole30! Fun fact: Andie is such an incredible cook that she once maintained her “day job” as the head of PR WHILE catering a 4-day photoshoot in Newport - including a full-on lobster bake that we photographed! Still crazy to me that it’s just a hobby of hers, but these days she’s working at a luxury tableware brand so I think she’s getting closer to merging her two passions :)
Anyway, without further delay! Good luck everyone!:
Hi! I’m Andie Jodko, a CT based communications professional and passionate foodie. I was lucky to work with and for Meg (she was my boss!) during her vineyard vines days. I can’t thank her enough for inviting me to share some fun Whole30 recipe ideas with all of you. I so admire the incredible community she has created here, so thank you for having me!
I did my first Whole30 in September 2018 and I am by no means an expert, but I did find the experience to be really meaningful for me in ways that I did, and did not expect. As someone who already spends a lot of my time in the kitchen, I was not intimidated at all by the thought of a lot of cooking. I was; however, concerned that my love of wine and food (that extends all the way to bagel bites, buffalo chicken and the occasional fast food indulgence) would challenge me a LOT. Surprisingly (but also, duh) I learned that my cravings easily fell away when I nourished my body with food that was better for me while still being equally delicious. I’m going to share some of my favorite recipes, sources and meal plan templates that I hope will help you take on a Whole30, or just incorporate more healthy foods into your life. Most importantly though, I hope you find that these foods are delicious and truly satisfying…enjoy!
The Meal Plan Template:
By far, the most beneficial thing I did for my first Whole30 was to “stack” Week 1 with the Whole30 foods and recipes I was most excited about eating. For me that meant Mexican! I prepped a bunch of delicious building blocks that I could mix and match in lots of different ways. This same process can be used for other cuisines (I love a theme) depending on your tastes, I’ve given some examples below.
The building blocks:
A couple of sauces/dressings
A cooked veg or two
A prepped raw veg or two
One or two proteins
A fresh, acidic element (usually sauce-adjacent)
Make it Mexican -
A couple of sauces/dressings - spicy ranch, guacamole
A cooked veg or two - sweet potato roasted w/ taco spices, cilantro lime cauliflower rice
A prepped raw veg or two - pico de gallo (I used store bought!), chopped bell peppers
One or two proteins - ground beef with taco seasonings
A fresh, acidic element (usually sauce-adjacent) - lime vinaigrette
Greens - romaine
I turned these ingredients into amazing taco salads, burrito bowls, “tacos” using romaine lettuce as shells, a mexican soup and a frittata that used up all the odds and ends we hadn’t scarfed down. Looking to replicate this for other cuisines? Here are some ideas:
Easy Italiano -
A couple of sauces/dressings - pesto, marinara (I would totally go store bought here w/ Rao’s!)
A cooked veg or two - roasted broccoli & cauliflower florets, sweet potato “toasts”
A prepped raw veg or two - chopped tomatoes, zucchini noodles
One or two proteins - grilled lemon chicken, turkey meatballs (I love Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe from her cookbook, “It’s All Good”) *bonus for crispy prosciutto
A fresh, acidic element (usually sauce-adjacent) - lemon vinaigrette
Greens - arugula
Ideas - spaghetti (zoodles) & meatballs with marinara, roasted cauliflower & broccoli bowls topped with pesto and crispy prosciutto, Chicken “milanese” (grilled lemon chicken) topped with arugula + chopped tomato + lemon vinaigrette, sweet potato “toasts” topped with chopped tomatoes + basil + lemon vinaigrette, pesto + arugula + prosciutto, pureed roasted veggie soup + turkey meatballs, leftover frittata!
Crowd Pleasing American -
A couple of sauces/dressings - caesar, buffalo ranch
A cooked veg or two - roasted fingerling potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts
A prepped raw veg or two - carrots, celery
One or two proteins - roasted chicken breast, bacon :)
A fresh, acidic element (usually sauce-adjacent) - mustard vinaigrette
Greens - kale
Ideas - buffalo chicken salad w/ roasted chicken + buffalo ranch serve alongside carrots & celery, german potato salad with roasted fingerlings + bacon + mustard vinaigrette, kale caesar salad served with chicken or a fried/hard boiled/jammy egg, simple chicken soup with carrots + celery + chicken + kale, leftover frittata!
My Whole30 MVPs:
While I’m into riffing in the kitchen and coming up with my own ideas, I also love sourcing recipes and finding inspiration. The Whole30 community is full of passionate foodies who are amazingly creative, some of my favorites are:
The Primal Gourmet - Ronny is incredibly creative and as a soup lover, I find his to be the best. Try Caldo Verde and Mama’s Chicken Soup. I also love the way he demos recipes on his feed, always to the best soundtracks!
Nom Nom Paleo - after being recommended to me by a friend, Michelle’s “Ready or Not” Cookbook has been the #1 source of recipe inspiration for my January Whole30. I actually followed one of her “a week of meals” at the back of the book recently and loved it all. She has great recipes for building blocks like sauces, proteins, etc. Lastly, her Pot Sticker Stir Fry is to die for!
It’s also important to have on hand ingredients that can elevate or transform no matter what cuisine or pile of nearly expired ingredients you’re looking at, for me those are:
Eggs - the aforementioned frittatas, egg cups, hard boiled, etc.
Herbs & Citrus - I love cooking within the theme of cuisines because then I can narrow my needs down a bit, Italian - basil + parsley + lemons, Mexican - cilantro + limes + scallions etc. (Despite my best efforts I always end up with a watery, smelly old bag of what-was-once a green herb in my fridge, ALWAYS…anyone else?)
The crunch factor - bacon or prosciutto (compliant prosciutto is SO much easier to find!), and toasted nuts/seed
Stock - in a box, homemade or even better bone broth! I use this to help create sauces, add moisture or build a soup out of components I already have on hand
A back up plan: my fridge, pantry and freezer are my friends, and I stock them with foods they are low or no prep for when I just don’t feel like cooking. For me those items are Trader Joe’s Frozen Chili Chicken Lime Burgers or Turkey Burgers (TJ’s also has some good compliant pre-made meats in the cooler section also like Pork Belly and Grass-fed Beef Sirloin Roast) compliant jarred salsa, pre-roasted/cooked/prepped veggies, a couple of compliant dressings, compliant turkey deli meat, Tio Gazpacho or Zupa Superfood Soup and Chomps.